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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    July 19, 2011
    2:00 - 6:00am EDT  

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there was a famous event in which the first modern day moslem member of congress are representative allyson, use the car ran from -- koran from thomas jefferson's collection. >> there's an extensive lincoln collection, including the contents of lincoln's pocket of an id was established -- assassinated there were a couple of pairs of glasses, a small wallet which contained numerous news clippings, some positive about him, some negative. life a moment in lincoln's tickets captured in a different way. these questions, if he had been further south of washington in the days previous, the $5 confederate bill, did he carry
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with them to remind him of the struggle? all of these questions, it also marks the moment of his assassination much in the way that his life mask a few months previous marks the moment of his presidency when the conflict seems to be resolved and america is moving forward. a life mask is done by a man who had among other things developed the technique that made it more comfortable to sit under a plaster, and also something that allow the process to speed up.
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whitman had already produced the second edition. thoreau is on tail of discovering a work of his son had not been selling well. >> they went for a walk. >> we find in whitman's copy of for wrote a note that says, i met thoreau in brooklyn, and we had a lovely walk along the water. he seemed in good health and talk about the work that he was doing. i gave him a copy of my "leaves of grass." and he gave me this. and i found this second edition of whitman with a box that said "thoreau's copy."
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thoreau's handwriting is very faint. it is when i turned around and noticed k thoreau but, that is when i opened to discover this very grave diaz signature and a long passage, and it took a minute to realize that sitting across from each other in the shelves of the library of congress were the actual boscs that had exchanged hands between wegman and for road that day. they were there, waiting to meet each other again. >> what did that mean to you? >> it is a recognition of time and an important moment of
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american poetry where books exchange hands. i am reminded of time and the experience of people of great struggle, the fortitude of materials that have survived. standing right here, next to codex ministers from the 14th, 15th centuries, and then down the line of every book about abraham lincoln. there are millions of stories floating through this a vault. sometimes very poetic, said, monday in. the third reich collection came
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to the library at the end of world war ii. there was an allied commission that took on responsibility of dealing with materials that had been captured nazis. the objective was to return to rightful owners materials that had been stolen. books that clearly were part of hitler's own world came to the congress and are seen as the third reich collection. i wanted to look at it for many reasons. one was the pervasiveness of the movement that had actually gotten to the point that "mein kampf" had been translated into a braille text. to understand what is being documented here by him, but
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those that surrounded him, those that were managing his administration. >> the work of the preservation division. >> they are also very fragile, so we have a large conservation division here, as long as a preservation reformat think the vision, as well as a division devoted to bindings and collections care. >> we have a responsibility to save books that are hundreds of years old, many of which that have specific requirements as to how they are to be stored. we have responsibility to save materials that are endangered. >> we have to do intervention work, like an operation on a collection, so we have a conservation division. >> are in the collections recovery room.
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what we do here is stabilize the materials so we do not have a problem that is going to grow. >> you might see it as a triage area in a hospital, if something is wet, before we can do anything to it, we can use a freezer to stop time so it is not wet. >> besides freezing, there is also backing. -- vaccuming. >> this collection came into a library with mold on it. >> one of the types of interventive treatment is the washing of a document. how can you watch a document? >> this is a page from one of washington's chocolate exercise
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books a. we're using a solution to remove the adhesive that was applied to it in 1898 as a preservation measure. it is important we do this because while this materials were good quality when applied, time has not been kind to them. >> now we are going to give the enzymes a few minutes to do their job. there is no water coming into contact with the manuscript at this time. you can see the silk is coming up pretty easily.
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the enzyme has done its work. now we are shifting over to change out the webbing that supports the what document -- the wet document, and then it is into the wash bath. eliza is draining the last drops away before she places the page into the second wash bath. it will be removed, drained briefly, and then placed between fresh polyester web, and between the same kind of felt paper makers use when they tried to paper that is made.
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>> to more sophisticated means allow scientists to look closer at the library's writer items and find out more about them. >> the door is open and it is a microscope that uses the electrons to make images. and like a light magnus -- microscope, this can go up to 100,000 times magnification. we can see tiny particles of ink and how fibers and paper relate to each other. we can get this information without doing any damage to the document. >> these technologies have an
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extraordinary opportunities for us to investigate materials at a level we have never been able to before. >> the library's top traders. we oversee these materials because we had a vault because we keep them in an optimum environment. we can see if we can find unique identifiers and special collections, and in doing this process, it has been an active discovery for us. >> photographs of the -- this way we can put minimal light, so we are seeing things beyond what
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you can see when you look at something in normal light thing, things that are hidden from us. >> one of the documents analyzed is that it is for address -- is the gettysburg address. >> we found impressions of a thelma and three fingers. this is the page that he wrote on the way to gettysburg on the train. >> these could be the fingerprints of abraham lincoln. >> we should be able to take dna from that print. >> thomas jefferson's first draft of the declaration of independence. >> in looking at the manuscript, we saw an area that
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was slightly blurred, and our scientists looking at this more closely began to speculate that what looked like a smudge under the word citizen might be a word in an of itself, that jefferson chose to obliterate, possibly in while the team was still wet. we were speculating on what this word might be. . might it be "patriot?" and we were fortunate to have a tour, where we asked observers, what do you think this might be? one of the people of the tour said it looked like the word subjects. a chill went through all of us
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because it seemed so logical that this was the moment that severs it might have changed his mind with the realization that we were no longer subjects. just speculating is not good enough. we had the task to convince the examination to see if we could confirm this, and by doing continued in the laboratory examination, i think we have finally nailed it.'as it turns out, this entire section is not even in the declaration of independence. >> more critical to the library today is to get as much of its content digitized and online. >> the division overall has nearly 50 million items, and we have nearly 1.25 million items online already. >> we have taken a practical
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approach. where not a high-end graphics arts house. are using this detesting to get as many pictures as possible online. >> the online catalog still includes descriptions about all the collections we have in the photographs division. you may find a lot of from descriptions a set of photographs that would exist here and you may not be able to see them on line. >> see the originals, you have to travel to >> it was acquired by clark of
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the court. the reason is lincoln was on his way moving to washington, and was moving in transit. -- and sometimes you do agree to a temporary restriction. >> access is restricted until five years after his death. those will become available in 2015. they have the same kind of restrictions five years after his death. >> we are not talking about that many collections that are restricted. there are some that have some
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kind of restriction on it. it is usually not to the entire collection that is restricted. there are certain parts. >> research libraries are often vaults.yped as ball it is like a ford knicks of knowledge. -- fort knox of knowledge. we want to preserve the information to get it back out to people to encourage exploration of the past. the best example is probably that the library decided to archive twitter. in 100 years, and this message of expressing our opinions, if
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we can have that for people to look back at and understand what people care about or thought about, i think it would be very helpful for the future. it is not just about holding things close. it is to be used by people. it is a working collection. it is not just us and giving it back, but the richness that people bring by asking questions. some of the comments, they write a book. diaz are bubbling up to the surface. >> it is home to these extraordinary objects that comes to us by a great generosity of collectors and donors and to the government. it has accumulated us through presidents and all appears. our role is to make sense of them and make them available so
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that people learn to work with them in gain new and different insights from them. the american people are very fortunate that they have this as part of their heritage. it is made available to them. it is access to makes -- to make this a great democracy. it is what jefferson wanted to do for this country. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] --2011] >> for more information for the library of congress, go to c- span.org/libraryof
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congress or go to other cspan documentaries. get your own copy of the library of congress, behind the scenes of the world's largest library. it is only $14.95 for the dvd. go online to c-span.org/store. the c-span documentary on the library of congress 3 eyres this weekend -- re-airs this weekend. >> this new edition ebook of the supreme court has latest addition -- latest addition,
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kagen. takeelena >> a house committee has a proposal to work on the national debt. that is coming up later on c- span. but next, there were talks about ongoing negotiations with harry reid and mitch mcconnell. ohio's attorney general -- the nomination has to be approved from the senate. this is from the white house and is under just 10 minutes.
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there is money for groceries. for many families, things were tough before the recession. we have to get the economy growing faster. we need to make sure that small businesses can't hire again so that an entrepreneur york can sell their products out there. we want people to feel confident in their future into the future of their children. we cannot let politics stand in the way of doing the right thing in washington. that is why i want to take steps to make sure payroll taxes for middle-class families do not go back up next year. that's why it's so important that we tackle the problems that led us into this recession in
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the first place. one of the biggest problems was that the tables were tilted against ordinary people in the financial system. when you get a home loan, it came with pages of fine print. when you got a credit card, it was as if the contract was written in another language. these kinds of things opened the door to unscrupulous practices -- loans with hidden fees and terms that meant your rate could double overnight. it led to people getting mortgages they couldn't afford, and it put honest businesses at a disadvantage. and it encouraged dangerously risky behavior on wall street, which dragged the economy into the mess that we're still trying to clean up. that's why we passed financial reform a year ago. it was a common-sense law that did three things. first, it made taxpayer-funded bailouts illegal, so taxpayers don't have to foot the bill if a big bank goes under.
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second, it said to wall street firms, you can't take the same kind of reckless risks that led to the crisis. and third, it put in place the stronger -- the strongest consumer protections in history. now, to make sure that these protections worked - so ordinary people were dealt with fairly, so they could make informed decisions about their finances - we didn't just change the law. we changed the way the government did business. for years, the job of protecting consumers was divided up in a lot of different agencies. so if you had a problem with a mortgage lender, you called one place. if you had a problem with a credit card company, you called somebody else. it meant there were a lot of people who were responsible, but that meant nobody was responsible. and we changed that. we cut the bureaucracy and put one consumer watchdog in charge, with just one job -- looking out for regular people in the financial system. now, this is an idea that i got from elizabeth warren, who i first met years ago. back then -- this is long before the financial crisis -- elizabeth was sounding the
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alarm on predatory lending and the financial pressures on middle-class families. and in the years since, she's become perhaps the leading voice in our country on behalf of consumers. and let's face it, she's done it while facing some very tough opposition and drawing a fair amount of heat. fortunately, she's very tough. and that's why i asked elizabeth warren to set up this new bureau. over the past year she has done an extraordinary job. already, the agency is starting to do a whole bunch of things that are going to be important for consumers -- making sure loan contracts and credit card terms are simpler and written in plain english. already, thanks to the leadership of the bureau, we're seeing men and women in uniform who are getting more protections against fraud and deception when it comes to financial practices. and as part of her charge, i asked elizabeth to find the best possible choice for director of the bureau.
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and that's who we found in richard cordray. richard was one of the first people that elizabeth recruited, and he's helped stand up the bureau's enforcement division over the past six months. i should also point out that he took this job - which meant being away from his wife and 12-year-old twins back in ohio - because he believed so deeply in the mission of the bureau. prior to this, as ohio's attorney general, rich helped recover billions of dollars in things like pension funds on behalf of retirees, and stepped up the state's efforts against unscrupulous lending practices. he's also served as ohio's treasurer and has successfully worked with people across the ideological spectrum - democrats and republicans, banks and consumer advocates. now, last but not least, back in the 1980's, richard was also a five-time jeopardy champion. and a semi-finalist in the tournament of champions.
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not too shabby. that's why all his confirmation -- all his answers at his confirmation hearings will be in the form of a question. that's a joke. so i am proud to nominate richard cordray to this post. and we've been recently reminded why this job is going to be so important. there is an army of lobbyists and lawyers right now working to water down the protections and the reforms that we passed. they've already spent tens of millions of dollars this year to try to weaken the laws that are designed to protect consumers. and they've got allies in congress who are trying to undo the progress that we've made. we're not going to let that happen. the fact is the financial crisis and the recession were not the result of normal economic cycles or just a run of bad luck.
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they were abuses and there was a lack of smart regulations. so we're not just going to shrug our shoulders and hope it doesn't happen again. we're not going to go back to the status quo where consumers couldn't count on getting protections that they deserved. we're not going to go back to a time when our whole economy was vulnerable to a massive financial crisis. that's why reform matters. that's why this bureau matters. i will fight any efforts to repeal or undermine the important changes that we passed. and we are going to stand up this bureau and make sure it is doing the right thing for middle-class families all across the country. middle-class families and seniors don't have teams of lawyers from blue-chip law firms. they can't afford to hire a lobbyist to look out for their interests. but they deserve to be treated honestly. they deserve a basic measure of protection against abuse. they shouldn't have to be a corporate lawyer in order to be able to read something they're signing to take out a mortgage or to get a credit card. they ought to be free to make informed decisions, to buy a
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home or open a credit card or take out a student loan, and they should have confidence that they're not being swindled. and that's what this consumer bureau will achieve. i look forward to working with richard cordray as this bureau stands up on behalf of consumers all across the country. i want to thank both elizabeth and tim geithner for the extraordinary work that they've done over at treasury to make sure that, a year after we passed this law, it is already having an impact and it's going to have impact for years to come. thank you very much and congratulations, rich. >> mr. president, any progress in your talks with speaker boehner yesterday? any progress? >> we're making progress.
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>> the next, remarks from senate harry reid -- from harry reid and mitch mcconnell. >> some sat down with timothy hethner arand the picture that painted is here as follows. the picture was really grim. this is how he described the state of our government.
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the state of our government if congress allows this unprecented default. his quote -- "light's out." he said default would result in a complete -- quote -- "loss of capacity to function as a government." even tse who believe government should bemall enough to drown in a bathtub have to admit of a total shutdown even the most basic and essential function of government is very, very scary. wouldn't be good for the american people and it certainly wouldn't be good for our economy. the senate has no more important task than making sure the united states continues to pay our bills and preexisting obligations like social security. now, i've spoken to the president's office today. i actually had a phone call scheduled with him and we've scheduled for later but i've talked to his people and he understands the importance of our meeting our responsibilities that we have.
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and because of that, we're going to stay in session every day, including saturdays and sundays, until congress passes legislation that prevents the united states from defaulting on our obligations. i've spoken to the republican leader. he understands the necessity of our being in. we have a lot of things to do. not as many things as normal but extremely important things that are goi to take time. so i know it may be inconvenient to have people rearrange their schedules. this means saturdays and sundays and mondays. we have to be in -- in session continuously. secretary geithner described how 80 million checks cut by the treasury every day -- that is, 80 million checks every day -- would likely simply stop coming. the federal government would, in effect, go dark. paychecks for troops in afghanistan and iraq and based around the world could stop.
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f.a.a. towers could shut down. so could the f.b.i. and the c.i.a., border crossings could close, safety inspections of food americans eat and cargo that enters our ports could halt. literally every function of governmentould cease. social security checks, payments to our veterans. we've heard that before. there would be no discussion of which operations and personnel were essential. all the payments would very likely stop. some have said we could priorize which bills to pay. even if that wouldn't irreparably damage our nation's reputation and credit in the global economy a the globe at community, which it would, is also a complete fiction. our government won't even be able to cover the bills due on august 3. it will simply run out of money and because we'll be in default and our credit rating trashed, we'll be able to borrow the money not again to keep running, even if we wanted to. that's a picture secretary geithner painted. like i said, it's grim.
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many of my republican colleagues understand this fact. they know what's at stake. it's not blanket, for sure. but the irresponsible republicans say default would not be an unmitigated disaster for this country either don't know what they're talking about or are twisting the truth for political gain. americans have gotten the message. 71% of the american people disapprove of the way republicans have used this crisis to force an ideological enda. that's in the press today. even a majority of republicans disapprove of their unreasonable refusal to compromise, which puts our entire nation at risk. those who say this crisis would be a blip on the radar are wrong. default would be a plague that could haunt and would hauntur nation for years to come. our credit rating would take years to rebuild. the country would never, ever be the same. some will say this is an exaggeration. but it's not. this is what treasury secretary geithner told us.
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that's what business leaders, congress and rating agencies and bankers have all told us. this country defaults on its obligations, they say, secretary geithner for certain says -- and i quote -- "it will be much worse than the great depressio depression." it would make the massive financial crisis of 2008 look mild. it will make what we just went through look like a quaint little crisis, secretary geithner said. i repeat, it will make what we just went through look like a quaint little crisis. that quaint little crisis led to the loss of almost 5 million american johns -- american jobs, it caused our banking system to nearly collapse, more than $34 trillion -- mr. president, that's not million, it's nobillion, it's trillion -- more than $34 trillion in worth was destroyed in less than two years and the ripples were felt throughout this nation and arnd the world.
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the average american family lost $100,000 on its home and stock portfolio alone and 400,000 families were plunged into poverty. that crisis was minor, again, geithner said, compared t the potential fallout from the u.s. default. no one should suggest from what i said secretary geithner thinks what has taken place the wall street collapse is minor. but it's minor compared to what he believes would happen if we defaulted on our deb the leading business and economic voices of our time said it again and again, the risk of default are unthinkle. it would be a catastrophe. secretary geithner also sai we're running out of time to avoid this iceberg, this huge iceberg, mr. president, is in the ocean and our ship of state is headed toward it. the rating agencies have already placed our triple-a credit rating under revie and could
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downgrade it at any time. this is what secretary geithner said. again, i quote -- "the eyes of the country are on us, the eyes of the world are ons and we need to me sure we stand together and send a beginsive de signal that we're going to take the necessary steps to avoid default." so, mr. president, i ask what it will take my republican colleagues to wake up to the fact that they're playing a game of political chick wen the entire global economy -- chicken with the entire global economy. they must wake up soon, mr. president. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: let m echo the initial remarks of the majority leader with regard to the decision which in this particular instance would agree was a mutual decision that we need to stay in every day until we resolve this crisis confronting our country. and so i concur withhat the majority leader said. we'll stay many here every day, monday through sunday, and get
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this problem fixed for our -- for our country. mr. reid reid: reid: mr. presidi uld -- [inaudible] i would hope the republican leader noted that following the content of my -- the tone and content of my statement where i didn't lump all republicans in one big bundle there. pardon the interruption. mr. mcconnell: i thank my friend, the majority leader. this is a pivotal week for amera. two years of reckles spending and debt have brought us to the point of crisis, and this week americans will see how their elected representatives decide to resolve it. on the one side are those who believe that failing to rein in spending now would be calamitous and that a government which borrows 42 cents for every dollar it spends needs to sober up. washington needs strong medicine to heal its spending addiction now, not a false promise to do it later.
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and on the other side are those who want to pretend the status quo is acceptable, that everything will be fine if we freeze current spending habits in place, raise job-killing taxes on small businesses, and do nothing about the long-term fiscal imbalance that imperils our economy. now, republicans have tried to persuade the president of the need for a course correction but weeks of negotiations have shown that his commitment to big government is simply too great to lead to the kind of long-term reforms we need to put us on a path to balance and economic growth. so we've decided to bring our case to the american people, and that's why this week republicans in the house and in the senate will push for legislation that would cut government snding now, cap it in the future, and which only raises the debt limit if it's accomplished -- if it's accompand by a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget. the cut, cap and balance plan is
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the kindf strong micine washington needs and the american people want, and republicans in both houses of congress will be pushing it aggressively this week. i heard one of my democratic colleagues say yesterday that the votes simply don't exist to pass any bill in the senate that balances the budget. my question is, why in the world not? if you can't vote for a bill that says you will live within your means, then you've given up and you agree that the unsustainable path is the only one we have. and that's really completely unacceptable. every single republican in the senate supports a balanced budget amendment. all we need is for 20 democrats to join us. and by my count, at least 23 of them have led their constituents to believe that they'd actually fight for it. so my message t senate democrats this week is this. i would suggest you think long and hard about whether you'll vote for cut, cap and balance
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legislation that the house is taking up tomorrow. not only is legislation just the kind of thing that washington needs right now, it may be the only option we have if you want to see the debt limit raised at all. the white house has called for a balanced approach in this debate. well, a bill that actually balances our books is coming to the senate floor this very week. i strongly urge my democratic friends to join us in supporting it. some have said they think this bill goes too far. with all due respect, i think most americans believe congress and the white house have gone too far in creating the fiscal mess we're in right now. it's time for real action. it's time to show the american people where we stand. it's time to balance our books. now, on another matter, mr. president, earlier today the president announced his nominee to run the consumer financial protection board -- bureau. i would remind him that senat republicans still aren't interested in improving anyone
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-- in approving anyone to the position until the president grays agrees to make this massive new government bureaucracy more accountable and transparent to the american people. 44 republican senators signed a letter to the president stating -- quote -- "we will not support the consideration of any nominee regardless of par affiliation to be the cfpb director until the structure of the consumer financial protection bureau is reformed." and we've been very clear about what these reforms would need to look like. republicans have voiced our serious concerns over the creation of the cfpb because it represents a government-driven soluon to a problem government helped create. we have no doubt that without proper oversight, the cfpb will only multiply the kind of countless, burdensome regulations that are holding our economy back right now and that it will have countless unintended consequences for individuals and small businesses
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that constrict credit, stifl growth, and destroy jobs. that's why everyone from florists to community bankers oppose its creation in the first place. that's why we'll insist on serious reforms to bring accountability to the agency before we consider any nominee to run it. itook the president year to nominate someone to this position. i hope he won't wait that long to address our concerns and bring the cfpb the accountability and transrency it currently lacks.
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>> tomorrow, a hearing on the phone hacking and matra police. and a discussion regarding rupert murdoch. and on sunday, a woman was arrested and questioned about her knowledge regarding the phone hacking. this will be on c-span 3 and 9:30 a.m. eastern. and he republicans are calling " a piece of legislation cut, cap, and the balance. congress must pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. that is according to president obama. due to technical problems, we will rejoin our coverage in progress.
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future congresses will have to make tough decisions. it does not mandate one way or the other that the social security or medicare gets cut. it is disingenuous to suggest that this plan cuts entitlements. >> if i could respond to that question. i can assure you they were not going for this kind of twisted version of a constitutional balanced budget amendment. this is an effort to manipulate the constitution to stack the deck in certain ways. it has two devices to do that. one is to require a
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supermajority vote to raise revenue. the other device is putting on this 18% cap. these are not in in the balanced budget amendment supported by harry reid. that is what makes this especially perverse. this is not that. what this does, and let's be very clear, is it creates a supermajority requirements to close this for the purpose of deficit reduction. we keep hearing this statement of 49 or 50 states have balanced budget amendment. only 10 right in their constitution a limitation that requires a two-thirds or more of a vote to raise revenue, because what it does is it immediately change is the playing field.
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to say this is a constitutional blueprint for the republican budget and protect corporate loopholes is because of those two features. let me read you the testimony. this is the twisted version that is reported out of the judicial committee. he was asked to identify one budget proposal that would meet the structures of this requirement. the budget that passed the house, the republicans did not need it frankly, because it would require us to lift the debt ceiling by $8 trillion. there was the republican study committee budget.
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it says i will direct you to the house committee which balances it in nine years. that budget will require deep cuts to medicare, social security, and medicaid and education. when you couple that with this provision that says you need a two-thirds vote, you are going to guarantee those kinds of terrible decisions.
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>> medicare and others should be exempted. that is the strict language of the bill. >> that is very false comfort. that says that if the congress does not hit those particular targets, which is directed to do by constitutional mandate now, then they can say they can exempt certain programs. it does not say that congress cannot and should not hit those programs for the purposes of hitting the new structure written into the constitution. >> i appreciate the gentleman from massachusetts yielding. i would like to point out that mr. van hollen studiously avoids going to the source. i like going to the source. h.r. 2560 shows that it is a 10-page bill. but page one is a listing of all the people who are co- sponsors. so it is basically a nine-page bill. also at the beginning of page two, it has the boilerplate
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language on it. and then the titles take up a lot of space. we are really talking about probably, maximum, an eight-page bill. and if you put it on 8.5 by 11 paper, it is probably a seven page bill. so it is very short. what i like to do is encourage the american people to read this. it is so short and it is written in very plain language, contrary to most bills. and the most important thing is on page four, "exempt from direct spending limits," which is in direct contradiction to mr. van hollen's comment, which
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says the direct spending for the following functions is exempt from the limits specified in subsection c, social security, medicare, veterans' benefits. mr. van hollen continues to raise the specter of medicare being cut. >> ms. foxx, would you let me to respond to that? >> it is amazing that such a short bill can do so much damage. and just because it is only nine pages, as you say, does not mean that we should not have hearings on it and there should not be witnesses and it should not go through a markup. this is a big deal. the idea that because it is a short bill, it is no big deal, we should not follow regular process here, that is not the right way to go. >> thank you, mr. mcgovern. miss foxx, if you read the bill, that only applies to fiscal year 2012.
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it sets up budget targets for 10 years. the only way that cap applies is the first year. the remaining years continually ratchet it down. it is in the section related to the cut, ok? it goes cut, and then cap, and then supposed rigging of the constitution, that is what it does. so if you look at the constitution, i would urge the american people not just to read this. but read it in connection to the constitutional provision that they are proposed, which jerry rigs the constitution of the united states in a way that favors by definition cuts to things like medicare over closing corporate loopholes.
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it requires two-thirds to eliminate a corporate tax loophole for the purpose of deficit reduction. you're going to put that into the constitution of the united states. >> by a reading of the bill, social security and medicare are on the table for future cuts. it is important that that be clear. if that is something that the gentle lady from north carolina disagrees with, maybe she could join us and call for an open rule and maybe we can make the necessary adjustments when the bill comes before the house. i was reading in the newspaper, i do not know how true it is, that the republican leadership were talking about copays on home health care. for whatever reason, they do not define that as a revenue. and yet trying to eliminate the corporate loophole for donald trump's jet somehow is something -- is an insurmountable thing for us to eliminate. bottom line here, the problem with the republican approach here is that it disproportionately impacts the
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most vulnerable in our country. it disproportionately impacts our senior citizens, people who had nothing to do with getting us into this mess to begin with. yet it exempts corporate welfare, that tax loopholes that i think by any standard are egregious. this bipartisan consensus outside the beltway that some of these corporate welfare should be gotten rid of. yet it becomes impossible to do that. it is impossible to do that in the budget negotiations with the white house and congressional leaders. we're not paying for these wars. we are borrowing $10 billion a month for afghanistan. and yet we're saying we're
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going to balance the budget by going after poor people, senior citizens, by going after pell grants. people talk about jobs. you have to invest to create jobs. you cut these programs and it is hard to be competitive in these economies. when you cut money for education and transportation infrastructure, it becomes more difficult to become competitive. we need to be smart about this. this approach of exempting corporate welfare, to me, is egregious. let me finally say this, and that is, i will end as i began here, i thought we would be coming back talking about how we're getting closer. and this bill, the best i can -- i hope this is just bad political theater -- but this
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bill is a sharp right turn. it moves us further away from where i thought we were getting . i hope it does not delay our ability to come to some sort of an agreement between the congressional leadership and the white house. i hope this is not something that further fuels this notion that somehow it does not matter whether we get a deal by august 3 or not. this is serious. and to come before the rules committee, to bring a bill to the house, with no hearing, no witnesses, no markup, something put together over the weekend and we're coming back on monday to do this, when we already know the white house will not accept it, i think it is wrongheaded. i really wish we were not here. we need to get serious about getting this out. i yield back my time. >> i apologize for being late. i just arrived on a plane. >> welcome to the rules committee. >> chris, welcome.
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i think what has been going on for a long period of time is that there has been a debate and discussion between the white house, republican leaders, democratic leaders, leaders of the house and the senate with the white house, and has the president never put anything in writing about what he was like to see as his proposal? >> yes, as i said in response to a question from miss foxx. yes, he outlined in his speech to george washington university april 13 a proposal which we have gone into some of the components of already. >> is that a bill? >> also the company documents that went with it, $4 million in deficit reduction over 10 to
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12 years. for example, it calls for about a trillion dollar reduction in discretionary spending including $400 billion in defense. it lays it out actually in quite a lot of detail. as you well know, the president also engaged in discussions at the white house with the speaker of the house where they fleshed out some additional ideas. the barrier beyond which they could not apparently go was the president saying, i want a balanced approach of $3 in cuts to $1 in revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes for deficit reduction. and the rates at the very top in 2013 would go back to where they were in the clinton administration. that balanced approach apparently was rejected. so here we are. >> the president has been talking about corporate jets. is that to be added to the proposal? >> there are lots of corporate loopholes in the tax code.
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there is no reason -- >> is that a corporate loophole? >> i think that fact that corporate jets get seven years depreciation and private jets get five years depreciation, that is a loophole. you can have a loophole in the law and that is why we have to change it by changing the law. >> that is the law. >> no question that the subsidies for the oil and gas companies are a matter of law. we ask you to join us in closing some of these subsidies for the purpose of reducing the deficit. >> i will just tell you, i think that what we're playing here is a game where the president can speak for the president and he does, mr. boehner has to speak for a body that he controls literally not one vote, and i know that is a strange thing for people perhaps in every party to understand, but i would
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never vote for a tax increase. i think a huge number of my colleagues have been honest about saying that for a long time. it is interesting that the president is going to test it, knowing the resolve on this side. it is a nonstarter.
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>> the bewitching hour has arrived. it is 10:00 a.m.. i am tom mann, senior fellow here at workings and i'm delighted to welcome all of you with us here at brookings this morning, and to our lives c-span audience to a session entitled, a status report on congressional redistricting. now, you may have noticed on the screens, who redistricting di. wondering why that is there. we understand some of you are compelled to tweet wherever you are and if you do, we want you to know that is the event hashtag. i know you are shocked that i actually said that, norm, but there it is. >> it was written down for you. [laughter] >> eye in i am the well-known
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tweeter. six months ago, we had a session here almost to the day, that was a preview of the redistricting session. today we are going to take stock of how that process is unfolding and with what consequences we can detect at least now. why do people pay so much attention to redistricting? a good question. first of all, it is a fascinating game. political junkies simply can't resist. we can start talking about it the midterm election before and continue on for years after as we try to discern the consequences of it. but more importantly there are gentlemanly high stakes involved in redistricting. certainly, it is relevant to
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play control of the house where democrats now need 24 additional seat gains to regain the majority. obviously, as it plays out in state legislatures and local governments, it has a bearing on partisan control there as well. it is certainly important as far as minority representation. a substantial majority of a population gains since the last census have been among my already's and the question now becomes, will those population gains be reflected in seats. in the house and at other levels of office. finally, redistricting has some
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bearing, disputed to be sure, not dominant of course, but nonetheless, important for competitiveness, for responsiveness and four polarization. i think for all of these reasons, one has to with knowledge the stakes of this process are unusually high. it is also important to reemphasize the fact that the u.s. is truly an outlier in the democratic world when it comes to the political control of the administration of elections. we won't today talk about the sec or the eac. we won't be talking about new state laws on voter i.d.'s, early voter registration. all of those are caught up and shaped very much by the political and partisan struggles
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that exist in this country. instead, we will be focusing on one aspect of that, namely redistricting. i think it is also important because of some of the new initiatives that have been taken on the redistricting process. perhaps the most interesting and visible is the switch to an independent citizens commission in the state of california, which is unfolding as we speak. david wasserman among others has reminded us how little time over there has been in the california u.s. house delegation over the last decade. when we had three truly dramatic electoral swings between the parties.
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simply, the state of california was insulated from that process. the question becomes, does that game change? now florida passed a couple of initiatives that have tried to impose some discipline on that process. right now, the swing state of florida has 19 republican members of the house and five democrats as i recall. it may be the sharpest, strongest partisan gerrymander in the country. will these new requirements approved by the initiative process have any bearing? we also have ongoing efforts to really increase the transparency of the redistricting process and in particular efforts to try to get citizens involved in mapmaking themselves. we fortunately have a wonderful
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panel to talk about all of these matters and others today. our planned this morning is to begin with initial presentations then we will have a discussion among our panelists and finally we will take questions from all of you. i am going to introduce our panelist in the order in which they will speak. we will begin with david wasserman, who is down here to my left. david is the house editor of cook political report. he is responsible for handicapping and analyzing house districts. last year, david rhodes, author, put together a volume called better know a district which is the bible for this round of redistricting. it is a wonderful piece of work david and we have all come to rely on it.
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david is going to get us off with an overview of where we stand and how the process is unfolding. then we are going to turn to my colleague immediately on my right, anita earls, who is the founder and executive director of the southern coalition for social justice, a nonprofit organization in their am, north carolina. i need it has been a civil rights lawyer. she has been deeply involved in voting rights and in redistricting, and she will speak on a topic of enormous interest. as i said, the population growth has been among minorities, but it isn't yet clear that growth will be reflected in speech. she will give us an overview of how that is playing out in a number of states and how quickly we have or will be moving into
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courts on that process. we will then turn to michael mcdonald, who is a nonresident senior fellow here at brookings, associate professor of political science at george mason university. someone who has been a consultant to redistricting authorities including arizona, redistricting commission, who has launched through brookings and aei as well as the public mapping project, and will tell us of the efforts to really increase public participation and transparency in this entire process. we will then and with my colleague, norm subward, a resident scholar at aei who everyone knows appropriately.
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norm is going to tell us after hearing from our other three colleagues, what it all means for politics and policy. so that is the game plan. david, kick us off. >> thank you to brookings for giving so much love to and often under love topic, but i often call redistricting a once in a decade nerd fest for politicians, pundits, academics, lawyers demographers, cartographers you name it. i am pleased to see so many nerds out here in the audience. i definitely am one. god knows, but redistricting is really one of the only arena is it not the only arena in which it is fair to compare lebron james and dennis kucinich. i really don't think that dennis kucinich even if he decides to take his talent elsewhere perhaps the two washington state, will do any better in terms of winning. that i really think the examples of how redistricting affects our
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politics are everywhere around us. even if they are not necessarily part of the news articles that we read on major issues at stake these days. during the medicare fight for example, i don't think glass tyranny of us could have predicted that paul ryan or the state of wisconsin would generate so much attention and coverage this year in terms of the fiscal woes facing the state and paul ryan's budget and i think a lot of the attention on the district has been replaced because democrats are saying well we have got the kenosha county supervisor and a lot of pundits, a lot of people you've talked to in the consulting world. very few of them who are credible would give him a chance of taking it to paul ryan. but i do find significant in his district, and if you plot out all 435 house seats on the scale of the most republican districts have the most democratic districts in the country, on a
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scale of the partisan voting guess which one is the 218th district, the fulcrum of the house? it is paul ryan's district and i think are made is a perfect illustration of why it is going to be difficult for democrats to get to that magic number of 218 in the house. not only because of a personal appeal but because before these recall elections in wisconsin republicans are trying to edge near a plan that will make his points more republican. redistricting is a game of moving goalposts and another goalpost and that is moving right now is the ability of republican leaders in the house to corral a lot of their members to get behind any kind of deal on the debt deal. how does redistricting factor into this equation? well it is not as difficult to pass any kind of package thanks to the line in the sand drawn by 60 members of the tea party caucus in the house. that is one out of every four republicans in the house.
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but if you take a look at what is happening in redistricting just about everyone will have to take on new voters in that means that we have a whole slew of republican incumbents in the house beyond just those in the tea party caucus who are affected by taking on new voters and looking over their shoulders for potential primary challenges. and i think that is really making it more difficult for anyone to break from a hard line on that subject. but today's subject is a status report on congressional redistricting. we are done in 10 states which means we have 33 to go and seven states that need redistrict because they only have one district. if we are keeping score of which party is more like it again seats in certain states, where there writing is basically on the wall at this point even though only 10 have completed congressional redistricting we can really say a lot more about what is likely to happen in the rest of the states that have shown their hands thus far.
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democrats are likely to pick up a seed seat or republicans are like you to lose a seat in louisiana, maryland, nevada, washington. republicans are likely to gain a seat or democrats are likely to lose a seat in georgia, indiana, massachusetts, michigan, missouri, pennsylvania, south carolina, utah and i am leaving out north carolina and illinois because those are the big jackpot states with a really driving party potential for gain. than i have a question mark as far as which party is going to gain a seat or lose a seat and it could be a fair fight in states like iowa, new jersey and arizona are go but i'm sure the five states we'll be talking a lot about this morning and i will stop short in going on depth in this are illinois and north carolina which are opportunities for partisan capitalization on this redistricting. illinois for democrats picking up potential a five or six seats
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or four or five seats republicans losing five or six and illinois. north carolina where i put republican gains have possibly three seats be the -- depending on the legal challenge to the mass republicans are proposing and then california where he think democrats at the end of the day will probably pick up two or three seats as a result of the entangling of california's uncompetitive line at the moment. texas where i expect republicans netting two seats depending on the legal challenges we will be talking about in in the wild wild-card being florida. i am sure we will make that a big part of our discussion. but, there are two ways to measure how redistricting affects the sure in the house. you can look at it in terms of the scorecard that i just went over. if you add up all of those columns, which seat is going to end up ahead at the end of the day? i think it will be very close to a wash depending on florida. i think possible democrats could
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pick up a handful from the process which is surprising given republicans earn so many state legislative chambers and picked up so much control in 2010. but then, the other side of the equation is really how much can republican shore up the gains that have been made in 2010? and that is a part of the equation that has been more difficult for a lot of us in the pundit world to call a -- quantify. but one measurement that was kind of suggested at real clear politics.com and i appreciate this more than a lot of other metrics that have been thrown out there is how far to the right does it move as a result of republicans in pennsylvania and ohio and michigan? they have control of shoring up a lot of the gains they have already made in 2010. i think the answer is that on balance that 218 seats in the house, the seats that democrats will need to win on average to pick up the majority in the house will move two points to
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the right. that is where it is today. maybe from a district that is two points more republican than the national average, and we will probably get one or two points wider as well because the trend we are seeing in so many states as for underpopulated minority districts to spin into the suburbs and rob barry competitive suburban piece of the democratic voters that make them competitive or has made them competitive in the last few years. at the end of the day candidates and campaign still matter and that is why even after this process is completed and even after we have this new district lines there will be plenty of unintended consequences for us to talk about more than a year and a half from now. so, i look forward to hearing what others have to say. >> terrific. thank you for getting us off to such a good start. >> thank you and good morning. i'm really honored to be here and i want to thank the brookings institution for
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inviting me and giving me an opportunity to talk about what i have been focusing on through the redistricting process is what is the impact on minority communities? so i want to talk a little bit about that and talk about the legal standards of playing a role but then also see a quick word about the impact of technology on the process, what we are seeing and community involvement. but to start with, how are things shaping up so far for the interests of minority voters? it is very important to consider latino populations and they are looking differently than what is happening with african-american populations. i think across the country it is fair to say that the real concern about the fact of the huge growth of latino population is not being reflected in the states where their new there are new congressional districts being drawn and those populations feel that their voting strength is not being fairly reflected in those maps that have been proposed and
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drawn. so, in texas, the maldef and several other latino organizations have filed suit. last count there were five cases and a quarter and several in -- already filed how districts have been drawn. some of those claims are based on the fact that they increase in latino population was an reflected in the maps of the past. similarly the plans that have been with forwarding california, you may have read in the news ahead of the layout talking about an extreme frustration and disappointment that those maps are actually hurting latino districts and not reflecting the strength and not stay. so i think so, with the latino population i think it is fair to say that they are very concerned and ready to go to court because of the plans that a pass or not reflecting their voting sings. with african-american population i think the situation is a
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little different. their growth is not across the board grade in the states and they also i think possibly to a larger degree have a little more history of having majority minority districts drawn in being able to elect candidates of their choice. so they are, does harder to say nationally what is happening. a lot depends on whether they are in a winning or losing district, which parties in control of of state and how the voting rights act works in that state. we have states that are covered by parts of the voting rights act of states that are not covered. i will give two examples though that show some of the nuances when they were looking at the impact of the voting rights act in this round of redistricting. let me talk about north carolina for a minute, because the first congressional maps that were proposed by our republican controlled legislature north carolina actually increase the minority percentage in both of the states to congressional districts. and, throughout the state,
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african-american leaders were unhappy about that and the reason is because they felt that was actually training baron funds her mother congressional districts in the state. so where they had a history of being able to elect a candidate of choice in a district that was 42% african-american, they don't want that the district to be packed. what they would call pat into a -- an interesting contrast is the situation with latino voters in nevada, where there is a question of whether or not they're going to make the trade-off between being a majority in a single district are having a greater influence in more than one district. but, i certainly want to say more about the impact of technology because they think as we are looking at this redistricting process unfolding, i expect the technology would make it easier to draw mass but i think it is making it easier for public involvement in a lot of different ways. i never knew you could tweet about redistricting but
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apparently you can. but also all the web sites. they not only give you the opportunity to draw maps but to really get a lot of information about the process and stay up to date very easily about what is happening. in north carolina they did the process of having simultaneous public hearings throughout the state so for the first time you could go to one location and here from citizens. i think they had six or seven different videoconferencing sites and those are very long public hearings. they were using technology to really facilitate public involvement. so my third is about public input. there i will say what i am seeing is that what is most impactful is where you have groups coming together and trying to draw unity plans are really trying to coalesce behind a plan that simply having individuals submit something in the legislative process is not as much of a check on some of the excesses as when you have nonprofit organizations that
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leaves coming together behind a single planet really working through the process. so that is something i have seen this time that hasn't happened before. >> thank you, nita. >> my name is michael and i'm a recovering gerrymander. i've been involved with redistricting since the late 1980s and have been a redistricting consultant now in nine states. and, the experience of being in the room and talking to legislators about your districts and hearing a lot of gripes about what we are doing to their districts led me to realize that this is a very arcane process that the public is not engaged in, and really at the time in the 80's and 90s and in the last decade, really couldn't be involved and because the decisions were being made using technology that cost a substantial amount of money. at data best -- databases that
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were very difficult to use in just a technology than was an impediment to greater public dissipation within the process and also caught consequences of having restricted public participation and less transparency. people could really understand what the trade-offs were of different british game plans being offered by state legislators and the media basically had to take the state legislators word that was the only plan that was feasible and there were no other alternatives that were available. this is the way the world had to be. so over the last decade, working with a partner of mine at harvard, mica altman, tom and norm through brookings, a really wonderful advisory board of good government groups and bipartisan by the way as well so there are people on both sides, both democrats and republicans who see this process and know that it is not a good system we have
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in place here. we moved forward in providing this technology to the public. something else that has changed over the last 10 years and we talk about tweeting and other things, is the internet. the speed of the internet and the penetration of the internet. so it is possible now to actually run redistricting software through web browsers. that is what we have done. we have created software. is available on publicmapping.org and it allows the public to draw their own redistricting plans and we infused the software with the data necessary to evaluate the plans that are being drawn as well so you can actually see what the political consequences are. it is a very complicated process because there is live data to be managed and software, so still there is a big hill to be climbed here, but we are trying
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to shoulder that burden as much as possible so that the public can be more engaged in this process. so what have we done up to this point? we have supported research giftings -- redistricting competition in virginia. there is one in arizona which will conclude this week. there is one in ohio which will start this week and we are discussing potentially doing other competitions in the state of new york. so, one of the ideas that we have had in let's get the public involved and offer prizes to the best districts that people can draw and have a panel of judges and again tom and norm were very gracious and agreeing to be the judges for virginia competition. so that is one of the ideas. at a high level we could have a competition and again you have to have organization that is involved with that. another level you could just open up the process so that either individuals or groups would have the same software and
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data that the redistricting experts have. we have been helping our groups or individuals in states like massachusetts and new mexico and other places to draw a map and take some advocacy efforts based on the maps they have been able to draw. so, lower level would need to sort of just let's open up the process and allow the public to draw up some plans. what have we seen from this? well we have seen that it has actually been impossible for people to draw a legal redistricting plan. at the outset when the criticism we had even before we attempted this was to say you can't do this. it is such a complex enterprise that it is not possible for somebody in the public to do it. only experts are -- have the ability and the skills to draw legal redistricting plans.
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well, can tell you from our experience in michigan the second-place congressional map in michigan was drawn by a 10-year-old. [laughter] a lot of the editorial boards in the state of michigan said that 10-year-olds at a much better job than the state legislature did in drawing congressional plans. there is more political fairness, more political districts. it didn't quite do is well on county boundaries but still, it showed that a 10-year-old could do this. in fact, that is what we found, that younger people really do engage in this. it is like a videogame for political junkies to draw these redistricting plans and in virginia we had, it was more of a student competition led by faculty members across the state. we had 15 students -- 15 at 13 of the state colleges and universities dry reducing plans.
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we had 55 plans are withdrawn and some of those plans actually were submitted as bills. so again it is actually possible that college freshmen, a 10-year-old, senior citizens, advocates, it is possible for the public to be engaged in this process. what did we learn from this? it is that there are alternatives to what the legislature legislature is putting forward that do better on some of even the constitutional requirements in some of the states. for example in virginia there is a requirement. many of the student maps in virginia did much better than the legislature's maps on -- for example. we also learned by opening up the process very broadly and having looked at this problem you can see new ways of approaching some of the issues that are very involved and important in redistricting such as minority representation. so one of the student plans in
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virginia showed an alternative way of drawing a congressional district that enhance minority representation and essentially, the black caucus within the state legislature took that map and said this is a good idea and they implemented that and that became the concept for their proposed map for congressional mapping in virginia. now virginia has a divided state legislature. we haven't actually seen a map that can pass the state legislature so it is possible that one of the student maps may be adopted by a judge or a plan adopted by a judge so there is even an a possibility that we may cross that magical threshold which i would have never dreamed possible that we could actually see some of these ideas really put into effect. it is a whole different way of even thinking about how we can do democracy in the u.s., where you could have the public arts
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vertus abating and engaging, offering real policy alternative and having those implemented. to whether things we learned very quickly. one as i already alluded do we in foreign-policy, they learn about these alternatives and they took some of these ideas too hard in the way in which they were drawing the districts and then we also educated the public quite a bit because it is one thing for the media to comment as one of those talking heads about redistricting. is quite a different thing for them to go to an institute or a 10-year-old and asked them about how did they approach redistricting? it changes the story from being something about process to putting a human face on it and we have had wonderful media coverage of these efforts both local and national media. and, finally as i said, we have shown that there are these alternatives that we can inform the policy making and show there
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is a better way of doing this. as we come out of this experience, i am hopeful that seeing how we have opened up this process that we can have a real discussion about what these policy trade-offs are and how can we go about implementing them 10 years from now? >> thank you, michael. norm. >> thanks, tom. it has been a real pleasure working with michael and his colleague. tom and i had quite an experience judging those virginia plans. tom is the simon cowell. >> and you were? >> unfortunately i was paula abdul i guess. [laughter] i will have to recover from that. i want to step back a bit and start to look at or think about a couple of questions. this really does become, call it market wonk fest which i think is a better characterization then there had.
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wonks perhaps you know is no spelled backwards. but, really at the root of this, beyond the competition, the viciousness, what it means for partisan balance is a broader concept of representation. one of the worrisome elements of the way we have been doing redistricting -- this was amplified a few years ago when texas under tom delay went at this twice in a decade in creating a different precedent. but if you think about length between voters and their representatives, even beyond what has now become the most powerful critique of redistricting as we have and voter should choose their representatives rather than representatives choosing representative choosing their voters it is becomes more difficult to link a representative when there is turmoil and from one round of redistricting to the next to really don't know where you are
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going to end up in what kind of representative you are going to have, whether you will have the same one of whether you are going to feel any sense of a community around you but people who are represented by a person because of some of the convoluted lines that have been drawn. so that has become i think a more significant problem. at the same time, it really is interesting to reflect on how the redistricting process in many ways has changed to reflect the changes in our politics. the last four ways in the 80's, the '90s and now are somewhat different from what we saw in the past. politicians naturally always want to maximize their own advantage and the pre-permanent campaign era of the theme was much more the incumbent protection one. the two parties would tend more to get together and say you protect your guys and we will protect ours. now, of course there is some of that depending on the state and the dynamics and who is going to control but it has become much more vicious. i think of it in this way.
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in an earlier era to us more about solidifying the goalposts and now it is as david said about moving them and moving them as much as you can. all of that is not just the permanent campaign in the high-stakes, the stakes growing higher as we have seen more turmoil in our politics. it has all been amplified at the supreme court, which is clueless to be truthful about the real world, especially when it comes to this area. as they have through a succession of decisions basically maniacally focused on one person, one vote. and the way in which they have focused on one person one vote is the height of absurdity. because they have for jack to districts that get down to a tiny number, little more than a handful of variation out of 600,000 people but all based on census data, that is antiquated before the ink is dry on the census forms because of
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population movement. so by doing so, especially in the air of powerful computing, they have made it much much easier to do than just vengeance to communities of interest, to county and county and other kinds of lines to compactness and other things. and it is becoming even more absurd excess of course from the beginning we have drawn house district lines within states, and because of the wide population of variations now and particularly because we are having more and more states, smaller states that are losing population, that one person one vote doesn't work very well. if you have a state that has a representative but has a population of 300,000 then as you try to move the districts around we are going to end up with districts that are millions of population. how you can reject a plan because it varies by 100 people out of 600,000 said that likely
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well you have one district that has a representative three times as powerful in terms of the number of voters as another is something that only anthony kennedy knows in his own mind, i guess. but it adds to our challenges. and let me add, one result of the way we are doing the redistricting now and the way some of these dates are playing out in the wide kinds of variations we are seeing even as we are seeing some interesting developments in places like california and florida that are trying to move it out of some of the vicious politics that have occurred between the parties is i am afraid, whichever party gains or loses this time pushed to the side, one result will be more polarization. if you look for example at what is likely to happen in north carolina, you have got three representatives, democratic representatives who are in very serious jeopardy right now. kissell, schuyler and mcintyre all of whom are among the
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remaining dwindling group of moderate to conservative lou dog democrats. and that if you look through a lot of these states, they are often the ones who are going to be on the chopping block in states where republicans are going to be able to gain a little bit more leverage. now it is not as if we have got moderate republicans left who can move onto the chopping block but as we have seen the kind of console -- what it is going to do in many of these districts is put even more for premium on the primary is the one place where a challenge can occur. and it is in those places that we see this kind of electromagnetic that either nominates more conservative candidates or takes the representatives who are there and pushes them in a different direction because they have got to respond to a smaller group of pure voters. and at the same time we are going to end up with many fewer heterogeneous districts. the process we have been
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describing here is far more bad of moving as david said many of these republican districts to be even more wide than they have been which is wider and wider over the last few waves anyhow and although there are some exceptions to this, pass them into their district, homogeneous districts when they go back home. as we can see with the dynamics now on the debt limit, that echo chamber which means that you can share a common set of facts or feel any fiduciary responsibility to represent people whose views may be different from your own because they are not a part of your district makes it harder to find the center come to an agreement. so those are some of the reasons why tom and i have joined with michael and mike to try to create at least a little bit different dynamic in this process to raise some of these other areas that the court has
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basically pushed to the side from compactness to communities of interest to even competitiveness, to try and figure out a way to alter the dynamic war to get the public thinking a little bit more so that we can have whatever occurs and a fight in which clinical figures are going to naturally try to maximize their advantage either personally or for their party. that is just the nature of the beast but to try and keep from having some of the worst other elements that can emerge from this process. >> thanks, norm. that last point he was making sort of underscores an important distinction that i think we all should keep in mind. you will oftentimes here people argue that the reason we have such extreme partisan polarization is because of gerrymandering. that is wrong. it has contributed, it has
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contributed but it has not it it been the dominant factor. but, ironically, gerrymandering has become more great consequence of polarization. that is, it sets up things in a way that leads to an exacerbation of an underlying condition and so the effort at reforms are trying to break that dynamic in some way. in that spirit, i would like to turn our conversation to california if we could. these are experiments in reform, one with new criteria imposed on a process, the other with a new process replacing the old one. david, would you kick us off on that? you have been watching california. earlier, he said it was like watching paint dry to see the
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commission out work. share that with us. >> last tuesday we had as some of you know a special election in california, 36 districts replacing harman. the winner was janice hahn and she won that election tuesday night. on wednesday, the commission put out a visualization of a hypothetical district gave respective district that would shut -- throw janice hahn into a district with henry waxman so welcome to congress on tuesday. now run against henry waxman on thursday. >> welcome to california. [laughter] >> watching california commission has been, has been really really amazing for someone who focuses on insider congressional baseball. if only because of this really brave new world. it is the largest laboratory of reform in the country and
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redistricting right now, and redistricting california's like trying to partition a melting pot. you have given her hats the most complex redistricting job in america to a group of people who were selected in part by -- sending in their resume. and the result has been a 14 member citizen commission that is earned plenty of criticism from the outside for, for example, picking a mapping firm that republicans argued had ties before two democratic perspectives. but i give the commission and watching their meetings even if it is like watching paint dry, higher marks than most people would have guessed they would give them early on in the process because watching them work together as a group of 14 and very tedious, tedious
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meetings to come up with new maps is impressive in terms of the tone and collaboration since we have other commissions across the country. we have seven congressional redistricting commissions but this is really the only one out of the seven that doesn't have some political component in the process watching over their shoulder for appointing the commissioners, and they really are accountable to no partisan overboard in this process. so in part, their cooperation i think it's very very refreshing and succeeded and untangling california's very uncompetitive line and generating even five or 10 congressional -- if there are 53 scared incumbents at the end of the day. i think california could be held up as a model of reform to speak nothing of potential political sway in democrats or republicans favor as a result. norm said earlier that the things that corporation may be
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un-american, given the climate in washington these days, but i think it will be a very useful example of how putting the power to redistrict into the hands of people who are closer to the average -- being average citizens could really have beneficial effects for both the competitiveness of congressional elections and putting the power back in the hands of the people instead of the other way round. >> michael, what do you think of the criteria you see in california? that is, politically blinded many respects. they don't know where the incumbent resides. presumably you can't use past electoral data or party registration data. some have argued, well that is the way to go. ignorance is bliss and you know if you don't take politics into account that won't distort the process. others say that to achieve
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political fairness, you need to take politics into account. >> right. i am an academic so i can argue with myself. [laughter] i will take the argument against the commission just for a second so we can have that voice here. what this commission is and what david has set up by his example of at the very beginning is that it is term limits by another name. so you are just going to shake it up quite a bit and you are going to see where the seeds fall and if you are lucky enough at the end of the music to be able to have -- great. you get to serve another term in office. if not, that is your exit. there are people who say if you really want to have term limits you should have term limits rather than do it through redistricting and i also say that these legislators, these
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members, they are the people who best know their districts. so they are the ones who are best capable of drawing a district that will reflect the interest of the communities for their districts. now, again i'm an academic and i can argue with myself. the counter would say to that is if we can just get one good set of districts that follows some good criteria, then we aren't going to have this problem again because if you are following political boundaries and respecting communities and doing other things that is going to be the baseline 10 years from now where the incumbents are going to want districts to be drawn. so if we could just get over this once of putting in place good criteria, then i think in the future there will be much less politics involved in this because it will just be sort of a mechanical process and many countries around the world do this. they are just following this
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criteria. the criteria themselves, i'm morgan advocate as too partisan fairness being one of your goals. you want to have that explicitly in your criteria and you shouldn't just lined lycée if i am following county boundaries or other communities or drawing compact districts that somehow magically fairness or competition is going to emerge from that. that may not happen. in fact there is probably good evidence to suggest that if you follow these neutral criteria you will get a slightly republican gerrymandering in those states because of the fact that democrats are inefficiently concentrated into urban areas. but still i think if you look at the case of florida what is likely going to happen if you do get a plan that is respecting the state constitutional requirements that voters adopted in 2010 -- at the way they had to get 60% majority. the legislature actually change the bar where they are trying to
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avoid having this -- these initiative paths and they still got over that magic 60 instead of 50% so they have been put into effect in a republican year. the voters of florida want to have limits on what those republican legislatures in florida can do. so it is a really great experiment there to see if those limits can be enforced and if they can be meaningful. the one thing that we would say why we might have some expect nations to lease for the state legislative redistricting that they be enforced as the state supreme court in florida has this automatic review of the legislative plans. there is no government veto. the state to -- supreme court review so they can look at the will of the voters and that supreme court can make a judgment as to whether or not the state legislature did uphold the standards of the voters.
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>> interesting. anita would you pick up on the florida case? this has been interesting. is one of those cases where i believe to african-american members of the house really were opposed to this change and it reminded one of a coalition in the past of minorities and certain republicans resisting, creating some safe majority minority districts but in the process costing democrats overall some districts. how would that play out on there? >> while there is litigation, and. >> that is the american way. >> it is an example of sometimes this quest for competition coming in conflict with the quest to fairly reflect and empower minority voters but i would also lay some of this on the lap of the supreme court.
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not so much because of their one person one vote jurisprudence but because of their failure to implement some meaningful standards on partisan gerrymandering, which that is maybe one of the big difference is at least in the last redistricting. there was still a sense that maybe if we went too far extreme on partisan gerrymandering at court would rain is back in but now the courts and ability to reach agreement on what a standard should be and that it should be ample mended i think has just left line draws whether there commissioners or legislators open field to do whatever they want to and, but what i would say about florida is that while i think that instincts about saying they should there should not be partisan driven, i think that voters around the country will generally agree that there should be fairness to everyone and that kind of encapsulates the general sense that people
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have about what our democracy should embody. i think they kind of one about at the wrong way. i think saying you have to be blind to the date out there doesn't help and i think they need to be much more specific about how -- what measure do you use. there are i think the example of the one person one vote jurisprudence is helpful because yes getting down to one person is kind of meaningless but it is a standard and it is clear. it is a bright line. you can follow it and you can approximate fairness. i think in the partisan gerrymandering arena we need to do the same thing. we are not going to find a perfect measure with the balance should be or what data we should use but we should have a standard that is clear and implementable and use that to constrain what is happening. and i will say what i see and many of the voting rights act is being used to try to reign in partisan gerrymandering and that
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is not its purpose and it is not working very well. >> alright, you know one of the difficulties of reform state i stayed is that you may get change in some states that reduce the amount of artisan gerrymandering, but is -- its natural net effects may be to work against the other party. or the party itself. it made it exceedingly difficult to approach all of this with sort of good government perspective state-by-state, because the fact is this serious ideological policy partisan interest that are shaped by all of this. david, do you agree with that? >> well, i think what we need -- what anita said about the voting
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rights act being used to justify reining in partisan gerrymandering, i think in many cases the voting rights act is actually used as justification for partisan gerrymandering. what we are seeing at least in the democratic party is that what we have seen for the past couple of decades for example between african-americans and democratic strategist who want to maximize the number of democratic leaning seats not necessarily the african-american majority seats and i think that is a really fascinating part of the equation here. we have already seen in missouri i think a perfect example of this, where republicans needed a couple last remaining votes from democratic state legislators in the statehouse to pass the republican redistricting plan to eliminate a suburban st. louis democrat russ carnahan. and the chairman of the congressional black caucus
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daniel cleaver, leaned on a couple of african-american state representatives from his house district to vote for the republican plan so that he could get a better district on the other end of the state and so there has been conflict between democratic strategists in washington and african-american lawmakers and i think that is particularly going to play out in florida. so when you you have these instances of reform, it is not always clear-cut. i think in florida democrats would love to unpack korean brown's district that extends from jacksonville to orlando in put three democratic districts in their place. that divide in the democratic party a think makes it easier for republicans to kind of capitalize on that and get their way in court. >> it is an interesting dynamic that actually, and i saw in a similar vein when we were doing committee reform in congress.
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you take away any piece of any jurisdiction from a committee or subcommittee chair and it is like ripping the child out of their arms and it will absolutely fight to the death. parties face this problem all the time, that you can take a district that is extraordinarily safe and make it not quite as extraordinarily safe and that representative will do vengeance to the party schools to keep it that way. i mean the missouri example is a good one because it is not as if emanuel cleaver was in trouble. this was somebody who was going to coast to a victory under even the threat of an enormous political storm but he was willing to throw a colleague over the side just to make it even safer. so it makes this even more of an interesting dynamic for the wonks in the process because you can't say it party is going to
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take the reins of power in the state and always be able to do what they want. it is always a balance. you trying create a few more competitive districts and you may put some of your own in jeopardy. we also know even when you get an extreme partisan gerrymandering as we had in pennsylvania larger political ties can overwhelm that. you get an election. republicans may very well in many cases be able to add one or 2.2 an advantage in these median districts that if it turns out that they have overreached badly on medicare or on the threats to shut down the government and you get an enormous public backlash, that may mean that embers lose by three points instead of by what otherwise would have been five or six points. so we just need to have a little bit of humility when we try to project ahead in terms of all of this. >> on the one hand it is stronger party voting makes it
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easier to draw sort of partisan districts but it also makes them potentially more vulnerable because you get wide swings that are based largely on reactions to the political parties nationally and you get a lot more turnover. as you were talking about the missouri case i was thinking just the opposite experience in virginia where bobby scott said hey, take a way from my minority constituents. i don't have to have this high percentage. he is saying you could create a second minority district with maybe 40% african-american constituents, so it works na brady of ways. before we turn to questions for the audience, i wonder if we could have a little discussion about texas. texas plays an important role in our hearts going back over time and in history and in
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gerrymandering. what i i gather that plan drawn up by the republicans in this case worked very much against the interest of the new hispanic population. would someone be willing to sort of way that out? have you looked at that? you are probably very much involved in the case is. >> it is absolutely true that maldef introduced in the legislative process maps that would give them i believe an additional two congressional seats than the inactive map and they have certainly filed suit saying under section 2 of the voting rights act it was a violation of that out not to draw those districts. there are also introduced i believe in the record maps that would add another district that would elect the candidate choice of lack voters in the fort worth
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area. it would not be majority black but it would be a combination of black and latino voters that would elect the candidates. so that is kind of what is at stake in the litigation of the voting rights act. but there are other types of legal claims being filed in texas as well. >> david, how did they do it? that is, what are those -- what do those maps look like, whereby some republican gains were realized and a potential latino district was not created. where is the action? >> well, i could play weatherman all day with a map if we had it, but you might be better off asking an abstract artist to decipher what the texas draft looks like on the republican side. ..
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and, deny democrats a seat in that central urban area. you can also make the case that you could draw additional latino-majority seats in houston although there is some dispute every whether the two houston seats that would result would be over a citizen
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voting age population latino but you could certainly also draw a new latino majority district in south texas without splitting austin and travis county six different ways as has been done in the republican proposal. so it's exactly the map that we thought republicans might draw with one exception. which is that i did think they were going to draw latino majority district in dallas-ft. worth not only to meet vra and avoid a lawsuit but also to shore up a lot of their members by pushing them farther out into the suburbs. instead republicans in texas have gone one step further. i think that opens them up to a suit that could dismantle at least part of the map, if not all of it. >> yeah. michael, one last question to you. which is, do you expect many
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plans at the congressional level to be ultimately written by judges? and if so, is there an opening for the public mapping kind of activities to have some influence at that stage? >> well, courts actually prefer not to get involved in the redistricting process. so their first instinct when there's a constitutional defect with a particular redistricting plan is to have the legislature or whatever the redirecting authority be a commission or something else, have them try again. they will direct them to say, here we've identified these errors. you have a chance now to rectify those errors. where you could however, have, a map that is drawn by a court or a court, take ideas from the public, isn't this sort of voting rights issues. those will probably most likely be put back to the
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legislature to fix, if there are any issues that are discovered. it would be in states like a virginia or a new york where you have a divided state government and you can't get a legislative plan passed, a congressional plan passed. so there the courts actually have to step in because there's no, you can't delay redistricting although we did learn in mississippi it is possible to do that but generally the courts don't allow a redistricting to go by, an election to go by without a redistricting. so in some states i think there's an opportunity where there is divided state governments such ascribed to do this i do want to comment though on something that david mentioned which is in the dallas area they fragmented the latino community. they, the republicans in order to gain some additional representation. it is a short-term strategy i think for them in some cases because the latino
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populations, if you look at the census data that is our growing population in texas. and so you may be able to eke a map out one or two election cycles that would be favorable to republicans in some of these districts but, if you look at the these populations and project out what's going to be happening ten years from now, i don't expect texas to get turn to a blue state but some these districts are going to turn blue. so it's a short-term strategy. i don't think it is one that can stand up through the entire decade. which is exactly kind of surprising to me. usually you want to draw districts that will be solid throughout the entire decade that way you can maintain your majorities over a longer period of time. here it seems like it is just a short-term gain sacrificed for long term. >> just -- >> norm, yeah. >> in terms of the courts, my hope is that, one of the reasons that the courts are
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reluctant to get involved with this, they have no expertise. and if you ask a court, draw a plan, they're going to have to find somebody to do it. if as we are now seeing the public mapping project is getting a raft of reasonable plans that actually meet all the criteria and can do it in a powerful way and they can pull a plan right off the shelf, and that's the case in virginia for example. so if you do end up where a court has to make a decision, it will make it easier for them. and not just easier but it will be a better plan. >> well, now it's your turn. we had mics. we would like you to identify yourselves and to ask a question that is shorter than the answer will be. so let's start all the way in the back.
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yes? >> my name is jeff white. i am a fourth decade redistricting recidivist. pleased to be at the wonk fest. my question goes to litigation, where this whole process is going down the road, later in the decade, in the courts. several states who have section 5 voting rights act preclearance have filed for preclearance in both federal court and in the justice department. there's been a notion among several republican attorneys general that the obama administration will play politics with redistricting. of course unlike of any of the previous republican administrations. and i think the voting rights act will probably, coming out of texas or florida be the key issues over the next several years in litigations. i guess a question for anita or any others on the politicization of redistricting or whether courts or doj are better or
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worse. or strategic advantage? >> well, just to throw a little more uncertainty into the mix, the fact we have challenges to constitutionality of section 5 pending in the d.c. courts on the way to the supreme court and what does that mean if in two years the supreme court finds that section 5 is unconstitutional? what does that mean if any objections have been issued? there is a lot of uncertainty around the voting rights act. full disclosure. i was a attorney general for civil rights, deputy assistant attorney general in a prior administration. i did preclearance work. what i will say is that from a public point of view, if you go to the d.c. district court, it makes it harder for individual people who want to comment on the plan to have a role because the justice department process at least allows for pretty easy public comment whereas if it goes to court you have to intervene. you know, have legal
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representation. it becomes a very different process. i think that this so many other different things about the way the process proceeds, whether it is in federal court or doj that, you know, my point of view is just that we continue to advocate for what we think the law says and we'll advocate in whatever forum or jurisdiction we need to but there are some important differences. >> michael? >> in virginia i served as a consultant to the governor's independent, bipartisan advisory redistricting commission or the ibarc. and i was actually questioned by doj about the redistricting, the state legislative plans. now understand in virginia we have a divided state legislature. there was a bipartisan san log roll where the state senate drew their districts, the statehouse drew their districts. they scratched each other's back and forwarded onto the governor who vetoed one. they made minor revisions
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and sent that off to the to doj with the governor's approval. we had two redistricting plans. one from the republican state legislature and the statehouse and democratic-controlled state senate. when doj asked me about the redistricting plans, their questions were primarily about the democratic plan. they were fine with the republican plan. and there were opportunities i believe because in the course of my work for the governor's commission i drew an additional minority district that the legislature did not adopt and so in the statehouse there was actually an opportunity there. there was some language in the voting rights act which may even provide an opportunity for the department of justice to, that to require the state to draw that additional district. they did not do that. instead they looked at three districts that the democrats had drawn down in voting age population. they were concerned as to whether or not those districts were going to continue to be effective to
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elect african-american candidates of choice in those districts. that's exactly what they need to do with the voting rights act. that is exactly what's required under section 5. that's what they looked at and they answered that question. so given that there was this opportunity to play politics with redistricting, the department of justice here had an opportunity. they correctly applied, in my vision or my view the section 5 requirements and ultimately determined that the state senate plan was acceptable. so there yet again, a democratic plan was the subject of scrutiny and not the republican plan. and yet they still at the end of the day accepted both plans. >> my perspective from a political standpoint, my question was always, where would the justice department pick its battles? and i think we know that a little bit of the answer so far. that it doesn't mean a raft of new african-american
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districts in the south. i think the battle ahead is really texas and perhaps california and florida. >> yeah? >> i'll add one other thing. >> yeah. >> the department of justice can file litigation under section 2 of the voting rights act. so if we're going to see politics played with redistricting somehow that may be really the vehicle where we see on the department of justice become active in filing or supporting some of this litigation on going in some of these states. but doesn't appear to me that section 5 will be their vehicle. >> next question receipt here. >> john forte, bipartisan policy center a question about california for, question about competition between different values. first if somebody would weigh in a little bit upon conflict between latino voters and emerging asian voters as well. both of them looking for greater representation. having some conflicts on the commission. but secondly some criticism of the commission for having
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at least a couple criteria. one to make more competitive districts and one to represent communities of interest. are those two, certainly they're in conflict to some extent but is the commission given enough guidance how to resolve those conflicts? clearly the commission will make much more competitive lines than the last very uncompetitive map drawn under another process but might it have been more competitive? what's the way the commission makes those sort of decisions how best to represent communities of interest, how best to represent competition? >> competition is actually not a requirement of the california constitution. so what is thought will happen is that the instead of trying to divvy up these communities in such a way as to work against competition drawing just sort of on a base value neutral sort of criteria, you're going to see more competition emerge from that and david can probably back me up on this that is what we expect to see out of it. so it is sort of like competition emerging from
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some of the criteria not actually imposing competition as a requirement. however there are, arizona does that and washington actually, there are two states that have a requirement to create competitive districts. so if you want to, and there are some states that do this, you can explicitly put this into the state constitution. i could talk about arizona. about that. >> john, i think that's a fantastic question. it gets to the heart of what is facing the commission these days. i think there is their most difficult job in the last month they have before they have to pass lines. how do you address competing minority interests when, for example, if it's only possible to draw very, very heavily black or latino districts, and in certain areas of the state, that are right next to each other, what do you do to maximize each ethnic or racial group's representation? and what we saw is the first draft come out. i think they were pretty regularized lines.
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i thought that it was a pretty good map that created three very heavily latino seats in central l.a. and two pretty heavily black seats in terms of voting eligible population. and when african-american advocates saw that it was reducing the effective number possibly of african-american represented seats from 3-to-2, they pushed to spread that even thinner. but as latinos are growing as a larger share of the population, under regular, compact lines, they are ought to be receiving a higher share of minority-majority seats. so i thought that map was fair. and coming under the pressure of ethnic and racial interest groups i think has caused the commission, if anything to take a step backwards since their initial first draft of the map. but what we're seeing is that the goal of creating very compact, understandable lines is really at odds with
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the goal of some interest groups of maximizing minority representation and that's the thorniest issue for the commission to handle in the final month. >> yes, right here. >> hi. my name is claire. i'm a student at the university of wisconsin. and i was just wondering i'm not really an expert on this whole topic. sorry if this sounds like an amateur question. you said the courts have no expertise on this issue really. i'm wondering what could make it better? more public input into drawing these lines? how could we, sounds like there is lot of problem. how could we improve them instead of taking them to the courts? >> go to public mapping in other words? we'll issue a wisconsin version of the software this week. >> yeah. >> so you can draw your own districts. >> draw your own lines. >> if i can just add, another process we've been working on in a number of states is to make the
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technology available to interest community groups and have members of the public come and actually draw the maps themselves as a group. and so, when we did this in the state of north carolina we did it several different days. people came from different parts of the state. people in the western part of the state know their neighborhoods and their areas and know what they would like to see represented in the map. people in the eastern part of the state, they know their area. when they came together they did a couple of things. they understood the tradeoffs because there are always tradeoffs in terms of meeting the redistricting criteria and what interests you can recognize but they also were kind of able, they could learn what was possible. so i think a lot of the critiques of redistricting are based not really understanding what's possible. if you don't know what the geography and the data allows, you really can't have an effective role in the process or really understand whether a map is good or bad. we actually got people involved by doing more than
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coming to a public hearing or sit sitting at a computer by themselves but getting involved in the community. >> anita makes a very good point. states and commissions and their state legislatures, their version of public participation is hold a hearing and have people come to the hearing. and they haven't really engaged with their constituents to find out what do they think their communities are? and, it is something that emerged when, in the meetings that we did with virginia's independent commission to see, people start coming out and describing their communitis. we could do a lot more. we really could. i mean the technology is there. the opportunities are there. we need to rethink how we are engaging our public and have that discussion about what the communities are well in advance of redirecting. not do right, once we get
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the census data and we can have that discussion. that's too late. because you really can't have a full discussion about what people feel their communities are and how their representational needs can be met. so i would hope again as we think about this how we can do this ten years from now one of the things, just a very modest proposal would be, can we get better discussion about how to best serve the representational needs of communities within a given jurisdiction or state or what have you well in advance of redistricting instead of waiting to the last minute. >> david, if i could ask you, the wisconsin case is an interesting one. you mentioned paul ryan's seat. we've got these recall elections that could turn the state senate over to the democrats. what would that do to the wisconsin plan or maybe even to paul ryan's district? >> well, this is all about timing and republicans want to complete congressional redistricting by the time there is any potential for turnover. and so in wisconsin could we
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see that map overturned? well, it is very hard for democrats to make the case that they can do anything bit of a it were to pass. they don't have the governorship. and i think it would be, always very, very difficult to undo something once it is done if only because the public only has so much appetite for dealing with redistricting. once they see the matter is resolved it is time to move on. >> we have three weeks until these special recall elections. >> right. >> i was going to say illinois. we've already seen them leave the state once. if they can wait it out a couple weeks then they can get a different outcome. what is actually going on, another very interesting thing that is going on in wisconsin is that traditionally what happens in wisconsin and this is by state statute, all the local governments draw their wards first, like pre-sent bound dries essentially.
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they do that redistricting first. then the state draws its legislative and congressional districts out of those wards. well they have completely upended that process this time around. accompanying these bills are redistricting plans are bills that change that whole process to that the state gets to move first and then the localities get to draw their precincts and wards after the state moves. so there's a lot of opportunities there i think for maybe litigation or some other people leaving the state. we may yet see that the. >> it is breath taking to, contemplate the political control of a process that nowhere else is it so controlled. yes, right here, please. >> good morning. my name is carlotta fellows. we established a political pac in maryland based on, the growing population, specifically of minorities from. maryland is currently 45% minority.
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about 30% african-american. but i wanted to ask a question specifically to latinos. because one of the questions or some of the concerns we're having right now withdrawing of maps is that you jipg gels test. and can you speak specifically to that specifically among immigrants in the state of maryland which is again like many states is the largest growing minority? >> well i think that the supreme court has recently elaborated under section 2 of the voting rights act you have to have 50%, in order to make a claim on behalf of single minority group you have to show 50% or greater in a single district looking at voting age population. some circuits said it has to be citizen voting age population. there are huge questions around the reliability of citizen voting age data because it's not in the pl -- it is not in the redistricting data set.
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so there are questions that arise around, what data are you looking at to decide whether you can draw a district. then beyond that there's questions about can you justify a district if you're combining two minority groups and are they politically cohesive? so what is the history of politics in the jurisdiction and have latino citizens who are voting, are they politically cohesive with other minority groups so you could form a coalition district or are they not? there is a lot of actually very fascinating issues. >> question all the way in the back there. yes. >> nancy beckett from science engineers for america. i wanted to, raise one point and ask a question. one of the problems in the mine north districts where the california group, many of the urban areas you have dissimilar minority groups.
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for example, koreatown in los angeles is very, is part of the two african-american congressional districts. and they are, you had asked a question about asian groups. they are very dissatisfied about that. that's, that is a rising group that will be very difficult. the other thing is, you are all assuming contra the practice of texas, that these districts boundaries last for ten years. what makes you think, notwithstanding various indictments, that anybody is going to let these congressional districts go for five years if they begin to experience what you were suggesting in terms of movement, substantial population movements? >> well, there are a number of states that actually have prohibitions on re-redistricting. texas is not one of them. in the supreme court said there is no federal requirement for only
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redistricting once a decade. it is up to states to make that determination. and so there are opportunities in some states for re-redistricting and it wasn't just texas that did it over the last decade. georgia did it. new hampshire did it. south carolina did it. so i expect we will see some states do a re-redistricting over this next decade. especially if we do see a very significant swipes like we just saw. so if democrats take control of the state legislature, i wouldn't be surprised if we saw a democratic plan come in and replace a republican plan. if the republicans can take control of the state senate in virginia, i wouldn't be surprised if we saw a, instead of a court-ordered plan which would be in effect for 2012, to see a republican plan put in place for 2014. there are some opportunities i think to see re-redistricting across the country. i think probably the biggest prize will be new york if
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the democrats can take control of the new york state senate and, i think there's a very good shot they will after this redistricting, that we could see a re-redistricting in the congressional directs in new york. >> is that good or bad? >> well i think should do it once but good districts in place to begin with. then you don't have to go back and do it again. >> but it's consistent with the the view in washington too. you take control of a chamber of the house. you repeal laws and you don't allow, laws to be implemented in a certain way. our politics is so intensely partisan now that it affects laws that have been passed. it affects redistricting plans, almost everything. that was my editorial. next question.
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>> thanks. i'm garrett mitchell. i write the "mitchell report" and this question really comes right off tom's last observation and goes to something that both norm and tom spoke to earlier. and let me try to phrase it this way. seems to me you've turned on its head the sort of conventional wisdom which is that redistricting drives polarization, suggesting that in fact it may be the other way around. our intense polarization is driving the redistricting process. and if that's the case, my question is, what kinds of results might we expect from sort of a more citizen-driven or commissio commission-driven ie, less partisan-driven
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redistricting process? are we going to get the results that we wanted in the first place? if polarization drives redistricting and we put more redistricting in the hands of the people who aren't polarized, what, what are realistic expectations in that regard? and along with that, if the thesis of the big sort, bill bishop's book, and maybe you can talk about the eyes rolling when you do that. if the thesis is that we are, we are redistricting with our feet, then it's about our migration patterns itself, again, how does the sit separate-driven commission-driven less politically polarized process get us the results that we're after? >> okay. eye roller, you first.
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>> let me take on the big sort lie first. there is really wonderful website that steve, one of the su cuny schools put together which shows changes between 2000 and 2010 looking at census block level. they have got a number of different municipalities across the country where you can visually see rolling a mouse over your web browser to see how the population haves changed. we are unsorting ourselves right now over this last decade. we're becoming more mixed up in terms of our race. you can see that happening in suburban areas across the country. even ex-urban areas. it complicates some of the voting rights issues because some these african-american voting rights districts are in urban areas, urban cores. they have lost population. the population has moved out and become intermingled in
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is a bush and and exurban areas it becomes difficult to draw these minority districts. it is complicating things actually. another reason why latino populations increased substantially you're not seeing come miss rat representation. they're not intermixed. they're not going into some sort of barrio and living within some sort of enclave within areas. they're spreading out. these minority communities are spreading out within, intermixing with white communities. asian communities. african-american communities. we're becoming more mixed. >> what about political mixing? >> a lot of this is going on the big sort is based on county-level data. this is going on in very densely sure ban areas where most of the populations live. if you look at counties yeah, north dakota, has 100 people in some of the counties yeah they become more republican. what you need to look at are
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densely urban or suburban area where most of the population of the country lives. it is a handful of counties instead of overall number of counties which big sort is talking about. >> i think the larger overall thesis of the book is correct politically. those racial-mixed communities they may be getting more racially mixed and becoming more of a melting pot in densely packed urban areas. those are 80, 90, democratic communities. marginal precincts is declining as we increasingly sort ourselves into like-minded communities politically. as a result, self-selection made it much easier for us to draw lines that off, 70, 80%, 20 or the other side. as a result we have the fewer marginal districts, if you look at partisanship, than we ever have had before. >> two counters to this. one you can draw the districts and see it is fairly easy to draw mixed districts that look compact
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or follow existing political boundaries. this notion it is impossible to draw these districts is just blatantly false if you actually look at the districts that people are drawing through public mapping. so, one downers is that my home county of fairfax county has over a million people in it. it is, it was a city it would be i believe one of the eight largest cities in the country. if you look at that county, is it is a battleground county now. it is slightly blue. it went red in the governor's election. so it is a competitive county and if you were just drawing districts that were respecting the existing political boundaries there within fairfax county you would be drawing districts that are going to be competitive. >> well, i would argue that it makes it harder. it doesn't make it impossible to draw competitive districts but overall the self-sorting that we've seen across the country in the last ten years makes it harder to draw competitive -- >> we're starting off with
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districts that are already sorted. just drawing districts blindly you will get more competition by just not going overtly out like illinois 17th current congressional direct which is a block wide and foes through springfield, illinois, picking up golf courses and -- >> democrats made that direct three points more democrat in their recent redistricting. >> that is sort of thing you have to, that you can undo by drawing directs that are following more just regular political boundaries than during a partisan gerrymander. that was very political reasons behind that. >> this exchange alone was worth of price of admission but we haven't answered gary's first question. which is really is there a reasonable expectation that by depoliticizing the redistricting process in a variety of ways, the california way, the florida way, the transparentsy --
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transparency in public map making, will that in some way counter the extreme pole laization of the parties in the legislatures? >> there is something we haven't mentioned. that is the top two new clauses in california election laws. norm, maybe you will touch on this as well. but it is really luck of the draw. when you have a commission that is blind to incumbents residences and political data, yeah, they're going to draw maybe five to ten districts that are competitive between the parties out of 53. had they done this back in 1990 i would argue it could have been 20 to 25 competitive districts. now even five to ten is an improvement over what we have now. >> just to talk about the larger point. if we didn't think that it would make a difference, we wouldn't be spending our team doing this but there is no panacea here, gary. the fact is, that arlen
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specter left hess party that he had been in for most of his life, not in a congressional district but in a state where he knew that he couldn't possibly win renomination. when we saw bob bennett lose his seat, it was pause of a nominating process that had nothing to do with the drawing of district lines. the fact that people now look at partisan media, listen to it, read it and hear it and they develop a sense of facts or a world view that can be directly counter to what another group of people have, and maybe counter to the facts as we know them, complicates matters in a way that redrawing district lines will not erase. the larger political polar aization we have has many factors attached to it. there may be many other
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magic bullets we can. i think the california experiment with the open primary process. we only had one experience which is a mixed one in district just decided in california. but it may alter the dynamic of that nominating process. i would like to see manadatory attendance at the polls so we're no longer driven by a small sliver of voters that both party as bases turn out and you can folk sus discuss on a -- focus on voters who tend to be in the broad middle. there is no pan knee saw is the -- panacea. >> we've run over but one last question from this gentleman here. please. >> i'm joe. i'm a legal intern this summer. i think underlying this entire conversation thus far has been the problems with redistricting, whether or not that is exasperating partisanship or diluting minority votes. i was wondering on a more fundamental level whether the panel could speak to different systems of doing
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this. whether or not that would be proportional representation or at large districts with proportional voting systems that might, you know, eliminate the line-drawing that leads to these problems that we're talking about here today >> it certainly would. there are structural changes you in the electoral system you could make. from straight pr to multimember districts with some pr. a variety of changes. compensatory systems like the germans, that would take some of the pressure off the partisan manipulation of single member district boundaries. so the answer is certainly yes. in theory it's possible. and, and our constitution would tolerate that, a different kind of electoral system but we have a national law in place with
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single-member districts that is the immediate barrier to this. but i say, the more talk about these broader structural alternatives there is, the more informed this broader discussion will be. >> you don't quite completely escape though from gerrymandering even in a multi-member district system. it still exists. it has less of an impact on the elections in those countries. so it's a good, one potential solution but it doesn't quite, it is not a magic bullet. there is no magic bullets for any of this. >> i might say i think it can potentially solve the issue of the korean neighborhood in the middle of a african-american area because it decouples, geographic residents from political representation and potentially it means that there's more of a multiplicity of viewpoints at the table and possibly
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then helps with this whole issue of polarization of our politics. i think there is lot -- >> countries that have pr systems are more polarized than the u.s. believe it or not, it is possible to have soviet, communist, socialist and fascist parties even though we call them here today. real parties that actually have members in their parcelments. >> the only certainty today i think is that even other single member representative democracies from single member districts are laughing at us right now for this very discussion. >> indeed. even among that family of, of, democracies with single member districts they think the way in which we redraw your lines is absolutely crazy. maybe that is the proper note which to end. meese please thank, michael, anita, norman and david.
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thank you all for coming. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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[inaudible] >> the house is working on a package of $101 billion in spending cuts for fiscal year 2012. yesterday the house rules committee took up the legislation. that markup is next. we will get an update on the bill on this morning's "washington journal" at 7:00 even the less eastern. live house coverage here on c- span. >> but titles like "slander" and her latest "demonic , "anee coulter has something to say. your chance to speak with the author and syndicated columnist "in depth," for 3 hour starting at noon eastern on c-span2.
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>> the house rules committee met to debate deficit legislation called cut, cap, and balance. president obama has issued a veto threat. it includes $111 billion in cuts and requires congress to pass a balanced budget amendment. the full house will take up the legislation to market due to technical problems, we start our coverage in process. >> i am trying to figure out of this is bad political theater. >> i think it throws red meat to the extreme right wing of the republican party. over the last several weeks, the white house and
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congressional leaders from both parties have been in negotiations, trying to figure out a way to get by this impasse. here we are getting close to the day, and rather than trying to figure out how to come together, this is a sharp right turn. this drives us off the cliff. this is not an attempt at compromise. it may be attempt at political coverage. in that case, i get it. this is a very political place. but i have a hard time believing that this is a serious effort. bob greenstein says that this is one of the most ideologically extreme pieces of legislation to come before the congress in years, if not decades. i would like unanimous consent to admit his entire statement into the record. the white house has issued a veto threat. all like to have that in the
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record. mr. chairman, let me ask -- are you here asking for an open rule? >> no. >> what kind of rule are you asking for? >> i will leave that to the -- >> i would like to insert the letter of the budget committee who calls for an open rule. you do not favor that. [inaudible] >> he requests a pre-printing requirements. >> are you asking for an amendment to be made in order? [unintelligible] >> you are here representing one of the committees under jurisdiction. how many hearings were held on this bill? how many witnesses came to testify? >> this bill was just introduced last week. >> so there have been no
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hearings and no witnesses and no markup. this has been put together this last week. >> and we are dealing with a deadline of august 2nd. >> so the committee schedule is thrown out the window. this is important stuff we're talking about, the future of our economy. >> i wish we were not in such deep debt. i wish we did not have a looming crisis. >> did this just hit you this week? we have been talking about this for weeks, if not months. >> my understanding, there has been broad bipartisan support for a balanced budget amendment in the past. harry reid has been supported. steny hoyer has been supported. >> we are all trying to balance the budget. we are trying to get this economy in the right direction. you make it sound like this is no big deal, that it just is a matter -- >> it is a very big bill. -- deal.
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>> requires that federal spending as a percentage of gdp be as low as 19.7%, and enforces spending caps, and makes raising the debt ceiling contingent on congress passing a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. it is not about wanting to get our fiscal house in order or balance the budget. we all do. the issue is how you get there. this is a lot more detailed than i think you are presenting in your testimony. i am curious. under the rules committee, we like to talk about openness and following the rules and regulations of the house. it seems odd to me that something of this magnitude would come to the house without a single hearing, without a markup, without a single witness testifying. i like to know what this means to pell grants and to the national institutes for health or to our roads and bridges
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programs. do we say to our cities and towns, raise property taxes if you want to fix a bridge? there are implications to this. there is a human face behind this. what troubles me -- is the pentagon exempt? >> if you look at what we are asking -- >> i am asking, is the pentagon exempt? >> i ask that -- if you will allow me to answer. it was entered through the budget committee and was passed out of the house. we have roughly 12 hearings on that along the way. >> you're saying that the defense is not a part of this?
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>> what we're saying over 10 years is that future congresses will have to wrestle with where the cuts are, what gets funded and what does not. that is the beauty of what we have produced here. >> so so so keep security -- so social security and medicare on the table for cuts? >> what we're saying to the future congresses, they will have to make the tough and difficult decisions. it does not contemplate or mandate one way or the other that social security or medicare gets cut. it is disingenuous to suggest that this plan naturally cuts entitlement programs. >> does it cut everything across the board? mr. van hollen. >> both harry reid and steny hoyer were invoked. i assure you neither never voted for this kind of twisted version of a constitutional balanced budget amendment. this is an effort to manipulate the constitution, to stack the deck in certain ways. it has two devices to do that. one is to require a
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supermajority vote to raise revenue. the other device is putting on this 18% cap. those were not in any balanced budget amendment supported by steny hoyer and harry reid. that is what makes this provision especially perverse. you can have a good debate on the issue of a garden variety balanced budget amendment. this is not that. again, what this does, and let us be very clear, it creates a supermajority requirement to close corporate tax loopholes for the purpose of deficit reduction. we keep hearing the statement that 49 states have balanced budget amendments. only 10 by our count write into their constitution a limitation that requires two-thirds or more of a vote to raise revenue. what that does is immediately tilt the playing field. the reason we say that this is
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a constitutional blueprint for the republican budget that ends the medicare guarantee, slashes medicaid, and protects tax corporate loopholes, is because of those two features. let me just read you the testimony of the sponsor of the chief balanced budget proposal. this twisted version that was reported out of the judiciary committee, he was asked by mr. nadler to identify one budget proposal that would meet the strictures of this requirement. now the budget that passed the house last year, the republican budget, did not meet it. that would require us to lift the debt ceiling by $8 trillion between now and 2021. the one that our republican colleagues voted for still requires that.
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but what almost made it but not quite was the republican study committee budget. this is mr. goodlatte's answer. i would direct you to the house republican study committee which balances it in nine years. that is the republican budget on steroids. that budget will require deep cuts to medicare, medicare, social security, and education. and when you couple that with this provision that says you need a two-thirds vote now by constitutional fiat to close corporate loopholes for the purpose of deficit reduction, you will guarantee those kinds of terrible decisions. >> will the gentleman from massachusetts yield? >> let mr. chaffetz answer and then i would be happy to yield. >> medicare and others should be exempted. that is the strict language of
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the bill. >> that is very false comfort. that says that if the congress does not hit those particular targets, which is directed to do by constitutional mandate now, then they can say they can exempt certain programs. it does not say that congress cannot and should not hit those programs for the purposes of hitting the new structure written into the constitution. >> i appreciate the gentleman from massachusetts yielding. i would like to point out that mr. van hollen studiously avoids going to the source. i like going to the source. h.r. 2560 shows that it is a 10-page bill. but page one is a listing of all the people who are co- sponsors.
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so it is basically a nine-page bill. also at the beginning of page two, it has the boilerplate language on it. and then the titles take up a lot of space. we are really talking about probably, maximum, an eight- page bill. and if you put it on 8.5 by 11 paper, it is probably a seven page bill. so it is very short. what i like to do is encourage the american people to read this. it is so short and it is written in very plain language, contrary to most bills. and the most important thing is on page four, "exempt from direct spending limits," which is in direct contradiction to mr. van hollen's comment, which says the direct spending for the following functions is
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exempt from the limits specified in subsection c, social security, medicare, veterans' benefits. mr. van hollen continues to raise the specter of medicare being cut. >> ms. foxx, would you let me to respond to that? >> it is amazing that such a short bill can do so much damage. and just because it is only nine pages, as you say, does not mean that we should not have hearings on it and there should not be witnesses and it should not go through a markup. this is a big deal. the idea that because it is a short bill, it is no big deal, we should not follow regular process here, that is not the right way to go. mr. van hollen. >> thank you, mr. mcgovern. miss foxx, if you read the bill, that only applies to fiscal year
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2012. it sets up budget targets for 10 years. the only way that cap applies is the first year. the remaining years continually ratchet it down. it is in the section related to the cut, ok? it goes cut, and then cap, and then supposed rigging of the constitution, that is what it does. so if you look at the constitution, i would urge the american people not just to read this. and i really do urged them to do it. but read it in connection to the constitutional provision that they are proposed, which jerry rigs the constitution of the united states in a way that favors by definition cuts to things like medicare over closing corporate loopholes.
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it requires two-thirds to eliminate a corporate tax loophole for the purpose of deficit reduction. you're going to put that into the constitution of the united states. >> by a reading of the bill, social security and medicare are on the table for future cuts. it is important that that be clear. if that is something that the gentle lady from north carolina disagrees with, maybe she could join us and call for an open rule and maybe we can make the necessary adjustments when the bill comes before the house. i was reading in the newspaper, i do not know how true it is, that the republican leadership were talking about copays on home health care. for whatever reason, they do not define that as a revenue. and yet trying to eliminate the corporate loophole for donald trump's jet somehow is
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something -- is an insurmountable thing for us to eliminate. bottom line here, the problem with the republican approach here is that it disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable in our country. it disproportionately impacts our senior citizens, people who had nothing to do with getting us into this mess to begin with. yet it exempts corporate welfare, that tax loopholes that i think by any standard are egregious. this bipartisan consensus outside the beltway that some of these corporate welfare should be gotten rid of. yet it becomes impossible to do that. it is impossible to do that in the budget negotiations with the white house and congressional leaders. pelorus. -- the wars.
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we're not paying for these wars. we are borrowing $10 billion a month for afghanistan. and yet we're saying we're going to balance the budget by going after poor people, senior citizens, by going after pell grants. people talk about jobs. you have to invest to create jobs. you cut these programs and it is hard to be competitive in these economies. when you cut money for education and transportation and infrastructure, it becomes more difficult to become competitive. we need to be smart about this. this approach of exempting corporate welfare, to me, is egregious. let me finally say this, and that is, i will end as i began here, i thought we would be coming back talking about how we're getting closer. and this bill, the best i can -- i hope this is just bad political theater -- but this bill is a sharp right turn. it moves us further away from
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where i thought we were getting to. i hope it does not delay our ability to come to some sort of an agreement between the congressional leadership and the white house. i hope this is not something that further fuels this notion that somehow it does not matter whether we get a deal by august 3 or not. this is serious. and to come before the rules committee, to bring a bill to the house, with no hearing, no witnesses, no markup, something put together over the weekend and we're coming back on monday to do this, when we already know the white house will not accept it, i think it is wrongheaded. i really wish we were not here. we need to get serious about getting this out. i yield back my time. >> i apologize for being late. i just arrived on a plane. >> welcome to the rules committee. >> chris, welcome.
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i think what has been going on for a long period of time is that there has been a debate and discussion between the white house, republican leaders, democratic leaders, leaders of the house and the senate with the white house, and has the president never put anything in writing about what he was like to see as his proposal? >> yes, as i said in response to a question from miss foxx. yes, he outlined in his speech to george washington university april 13 a proposal which we have gone into some of the components of already. >> is that a bill? >> also the company documents that went with it, $4 million in -- $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 to 12 years.
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for example, it calls for about a trillion dollar reduction in discretionary spending including $400 billion in defense. it lays it out actually in quite a lot of detail. as you well know, the president also engaged in discussions at the white house with the speaker of the house where they fleshed out some additional ideas. the barrier beyond which they could not apparently go was the president saying, i want a balanced approach of $3 in cuts to $1 in revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes for deficit reduction. and the rates at the very top in 2013 would go back to where they were in the clinton administration. that balanced approach apparently was rejected. so here we are. >> the president has been talking about corporate jets. talking about corporate jets.